In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.
If you're shopping to buy an apartment before your 25th birthday, congratulations. Most New Yorkers are moaning with jealousy. The flip side? Without a billionaire parent picking up the tab, you'll face competition from more experienced buyers who, at least on paper, look like safer bets for sellers, brokers, co-op boards and banks. Before you enter the fray, take these steps:
1. Be prepared. Be very prepared. To show that you're a serious buyer, and have the financials to get things done, get super organized. Have all documentation ready to go before approaching a seller or seller's broker so that they know you mean business--and will follow through.
2. Get a little credit. Strong work and credit histories are important to sellers (and agents representing them) and co-op boards, so you're at a disadvantage when you don't have much of either. If you don’t have credit at all, you'll need to establish it before attempting to buy.
3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Locking down a mortgage pre-approval before you start shopping--at a price point that takes into account the monthly mortgage payment, mortgage insurance payments (if applicable) and maintenance or common charges--will make you an attractive buyer in the seller's eye. And keep in mind that while your down payment may come from parents, you alone need to be approved for a mortgage.
4. Look at places off the beaten path. Neighborhoods like Soho and Tribeca, where budgets are high and competition is fierce, is not necessarily the best choice for a real estate newbie. Instead, consider places like the Upper East Side, where inventory for small-ish apartments is high. You may also want to look at apartments that have been on the market for a while, as sellers may be more willing to take a chance on a younger, less experienced buyer.
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